Ukrainian leaders examine persons with disabilities, autism in Winona


The Open World Leadership Center, an agency of the U.S. Congress, will send a delegation of Ukrainian Ministry of Health and Education to Winona from March 30 to April 6. The delegation consists of five professionals and will be accompanied by a bicultural facilitator and an interpreter. While in Winona, the Open World program participants will be hosted by Rotary Club of Winona.

Prior to their arrival in Winona, the participants completed an orientation in Washington, D.C. Delegates had policy meetings with members of Congress, including the office of Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota).

In Winona, delegates will collaborate on best practices for persons with disabilities/autism and meet local leaders in Winona area. Additional activities include site visits and discussions with leaders of Home and Community Option, Winona ORC, Winona Area Public Schools, Project Fine, Habitat for Humanity, Rochester Center for Autism and facility and staff at Winona State University. The delegation will stay in the homes of local residents who serve as hospitality hosts.

More than 28,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in the Open World program. Open World offers one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs to promote mutually beneficial options for depolarized engagement between future national leaders.

Open World’s 20th year

Founded in 1999 by Congress, the Open World Leadership Center maintains a vast network of more than 28,000 alumni in strategic countries including Russia and Ukraine, and others in the Balkans, Caucuses, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Open World supports legislative diplomacy efforts for members of Congress by conducting exchanges that establish lasting professional relationships between emerging leaders and their U.S. counterparts. Program participants are provided with extensive exposure to American politics, accountable governance, and citizen diplomacy, while being home hosted by American families. To learn more about Open World, please visit


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